While the initial response to the announcement that Whole Foods would finally begin labeling foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was mostly positive, some differing opinions have emerged now that the information has had time to digest in many folks’ systems.

Whole Foods of course announced they would begin labeling all foods containing GMOs sold at their stores by 2018, a move that was applauded by the popular and highly important Environmental Working Group, which of course releases the list of the “Dirty Dozen” of high pesticide crops to avoid each year. The EWG circulated a thank you card to send to Whole Foods for the decision.

In contrast to the EWG’s opinion was the opinion of the Organic Consumers Association which said that the labeling plan “did not go far enough.”

They also called the five year 2018 plan not comprehensive enough or aggressive enough.
I tend to agree more with the OCA’s position for several reasons, which is detailed in this article called “simply unacceptable.”

The reasons for this reaction are too many to count off the top of my head, but I’ll detail a couple of them. First of all, Whole Foods is a health foods store, or at least benefits from that image greatly, and it should be assumed that such a store should be doing everything in its power to eliminate GMOs now consider the fact that health food store shoppers don’t want them in their food. Sometimes, it really is that simple. The standards should be higher, and while Whole Foods is a large store with many suppliers, they haven’t gone far enough to keep GMOs out of their products. Labeling should be the absolute minimum, and would have been instituted quickly if various GMO labeling initiatives.

A store in Michigan named Hiller’s, a grocery chain, recently made waves when they announced they would put in a new GMO shelf label plan, effective immediately. Is it really that hard, Whole Foods?

Another true health food store I visited in that same state had a notice placed on its shelves that said that Tazo, Odawalla, Izze and other “healthy” products would not be sold there any more due to their parent companies supporting the corporate movement to keep customers in the dark about GMOs.

Aside from the issue of Whole Foods itself, the store’s five year plan could hurt the movement in the long run and undermine current bills to label GMOs.

If the face of health food stores nationwide needs five “whole” years to provide a simple label, imagine the stall tactics that big box grocers can now employ and the excuses they can manufacturer to prevent labeling!
Time is not something the GMO Freedom movement has a whole lot of right now, in case you didn’t notice. As many as 70 new GMOs could be near the approval process in the next five years if not more, and each one unleashes new potential for mass cross contamination issues.
We all know that the FDA is not doing its job and protecting us from these issues. So the big question now is, why isn’t Whole Foods?

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